More on Crisis Hygiene...

Someone asked in the comments of the recent "crisis hygiene" article, about the specific applications for cinnamon, cloves and charcoal. I wanted to address that question and bring up a couple other points as well. I also would add that this information, besides being backed by research, is based upon my own personal experiences with said items.

Cinnamon, (Cinnamomum cassia or verum), has been shown to exhibit a strong antimicrobial effect on E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Staphylococcus aureus, just to name a few bugs. I normally travel with a bottle of 500mg capsules. As a prophylaxis, you can take one capsule with each meal to avoid many food borne illnesses (this also can have a favorable affect on blood sugar modulation). As a treatment if illness sets in, you can take two to four capsules as needed. Be aware that overdosing (handfuls) can potentially irritate the liver and kidneys due to the coumarin content. Also, cinnamon can act as an anti-coagulant and would be contraindicated if you have a bleeding disorder.

Clove is useful in many of the same ways as cinnamon, having a similar chemical makeup, but is especially good at dealing with parasitic issues (usually coupled with black walnut & wormwood for this purpose). Clove oil is very useful if you are suffering from tooth pain due to it's high Eugenol content. I usually travel with a small bottle of clove oil handy.

Charcoal, specifically activated charcoal, is excellent at absorbing and expelling toxins. This is a very useful treatment for the ingesting of poisons. So much so, that even your local EMT is always going to have this on hand, and it is in fact one of the few treatments that he can administer without a doctor's oversight. It can also be very helpful with severe intestinal gas pain. I always keep a bottle of charcoal capsules in my gear.

Another agent that deserves mention is Cayenne. A capsule of cayenne can stop a heart attack in it's tracks, as well as being a powerful blood builder. It can also be applied topically to staunch bleeding.

While we are on the subject....a couple other items you will want to consider adding to your preps are:

- Desitin or A&D ointment (diaper rash cream). If you spend any amount of time in a field environment, you are going to want to have this available, trust me.

- Gold Bond powder. A quality foot/body powder is very helpful at keeping your feet dry and healthy as well as other skin areas prone to fungal attack or abrasion. Countless soldiers in world war one fell victim to trench foot, which was a fungal infection brought on by constantly wet feet. Another good reason to only wear wool socks - year round.


It's important to understand what treatment options may be available to you when pharmaceuticals are no longer an option.


  1. If pharmaceuticals are not available, due to a failed economy for example, how would tropically grown spices from trees like cinnamon be available? I guess maybe you'd find some in someone's kitchen, they might be left over from good times. But eventually even that would run out. So know which substitute ones grow in the north.

    Yarrow, otherwise known as "soldiers woundwort" also stems bleeding. Got that in the garden. But it also grows wild, if you can learn to recognize it. It's a perennial but every 2-3 years you have to divide it or it sort of chokes on its own roots.

    Cayenne pepper grows in my garden (zone 6). If you have any hot pepper flakes like from your pizza, those seeds might grow, or you can just get fresh or dried whole cayennes from an ethnic market and plant those seeds. It's a pretty, 1 foot tall plant.

    If you don't have cayenne, ginger also works to stir the blood and it's good for digestion. I don't think it works to stem bleeding the way cayenne does though. You can grow ginger by putting a fresh root in dirt. It's tropical so I grow mine indoors.

  2. I forgot, the lowly plantain is great for bug bites and booboos. Crush a leaf and stick it on the bite. Drinking a tea of the leaves is good for coughs. The seeds are good for digestive health. I put them in my pancakes. You can also just eat the leaves, they're edible.

    This is that low yard weed with a rosette of leaves and the one spike of seeds that sticks up.

  3. Thank you for the information, Penny Pincher!


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